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Monday, February 20, 2006

The best and worst of TV in 2004

December 29, 2004

While you’ve been busy stuffing your Christmas goose and threatening Santa with lawsuits for bringing you fruitcake yet again, I’ve been reflecting on the past year in television. From embarrassing to outrageous, one thing is for sure: 2004 was no bore.

Best guilty pleasure: Pimp My Ride on MTV. If only this show had existed in 1989, my red Chevy Chevette with fog lights could have been sweet.

Best evidence that there is intelligent life form on Earth: Ken Jennings’ winning streak on Jeopardy.

Best proof aliens exist: Anna Nicole Smith at The American Music Awards. What was that?

Worst TV moment: Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Superbowl.

Best TV moment: The return of scripted programs scoring with viewers, instead of reality shows.

Best scary, make-your-hair-stand-up moment: The masked carver stalking Sean in the shower on Nip/Tuck.

Tackiest commercial: Spoofing the feed-the-children commercials to peddle pick-up trucks.

Most ridiculous cancellation: Angel. Enough said.

Funniest presidential campaign moment: The yawning boy at the George W. Bush rally. His boredom made him a star.

Most embarrassing moment: Ashlee Simpson busted for lip-synching on Saturday Night Live. And to finish off the Milli Vanilli moment, that jig she called a dance looked like she was stepping on hot coals.

Best show you’re not getting: Scrubs. Dr. Cox rules, people.

Best reason to love David Letterman and Jay Leno: The Tony Danza Show. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Tony because of his Who’s the Boss? years, but his newest gig is evidence that not every nice guy can pull off an entertaining talk show.

Best good-bye: Tom Brokaw signing off after 23 years as the evening news anchor on NBC.

Worst moment of violence: The NBA Pistons-Pacers brawl. With all the fighting currently in the world, grown adults acting like imbeciles is inexcusable.

Best excuse to stay home on Friday nights: Harmon Rabb, Jr. in uniform on JAG.

Best commercial attempt that doesn’t work: Ovaltine. No matter how many cute kids with mittens come running in from the snow begging for this “rich, creamy” hot-cocoa-like drink, I’m not buying it. No matter how you dress it up, it’s still Ovaltine.

Best reason to learn to set your VCR: Wednesday nights are packed full of good TV. It’s home to Lost, Smallville, Kevin Hill, Jack and Bobby and The West Wing.

Most overly dramatic show promos: ER. The network has overused the dramatic promo device so much that it’s no longer effective. Every week can’t possibly be the biggest ER ever.

Worst new show: Father of the Pride. I’m usually a sucker for animation, but The Simpsons this isn’t. It started strong, but took a nosedive.

Most welcome recurring guest star: Ed may have been canceled, but Thomas Cavanaugh didn’t get stuck in Stuckeyville. He’s played a big brother on Jack and Bobby and Scrubs.

Most unnecessary replay: The networks relentless airing of Howard Dean’s exuberant speech.

Best series finale: Friends. Despite all the buzz, it was a fitting end for a fan favorite.

Best series debut: Lost. Show me anyone who sat through the first heart-stopping 20 minutes and isn’t hooked.

Worst cancellation: LAX. I’m still scratching my head why this fun hour of TV didn’t score with viewers. It was Heather Locklear, folks.

Best fast talker: Seth Cohen of The O.C. If you don’t have closed captioning on your TV, you’re probably missing most of Seth’s hilarious rants.

Best frivolous hour of TV: Las Vegas. With all the guest stars, it’s starting to rival The Love Boat.

Worst wasted moment: Donna’s accident on The West Wing. If ever there was a moment for Josh to ‘fess up his feeling for his lovely assistant, you’d think almost getting killed in a car explosion would be it.

Most over-hyped event: Trista and Ryan’s wedding. It was everywhere. It also set the trend for the year: Pink was the new black.

Best philanthropic moment: Any episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Best surprise: Oprah giving away cars to her studio audience.

Best tribute: Coverage of former President Ronald Reagan’s funeral.

Best reason to watch TV during the summer: The Olympics.

Happy New Year, Tubers!

Originally published 12/29/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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